Late Summer at San Pablo NWR

Most birders believe the best time to see birds is in the early morning and evening, and that usually proves to be true. So I set out early in the morning for San Pablo Bay NWR. When I left Santa Rosa it was bright and sunny, but the fog was quite heavy by the time I reached the refuge.

Not surprisingly, I saw birds much closer in the morning than I did later in the afternoon, but even this Great Egret seemed grey when it was this foggy,

Egret in Fog

and the grey-colored Willets were even less visible despite being quite close.

Willets in Fog

Luckily, most of the fog had cleared when I returned from the two-mile walk. Even though this Great Egret was further away than the one in the earlier picture, it resulted in a better shot.

Great Egret in Flight

This Willet almost looks like an entirely different bird, though it was one of the ones I saw earlier.

Willet in Flight

Locating this small flock of black neck stilts was the highlight of the day for me.

flock of Black-Necked Stilts

Occasionally a bird would wander off to feed separately allowing a close-up

Black-Necked Stilt

then return shortly to the flock, or another bird would fly in from more distant feeding grounds and join the flock.

Unfortunately, San Pablo NWR was not one of my favorite places to bird, at least not on the day I was there. About the time the fog lifted, racing started on the Sonoma Raceway and the roar of racing cars was nearly unbearable. If that wasn’t enough, a rifle range is located just off the refuge and shooters were out in large numbers getting ready for the upcoming hunting season. Fortunately, it seemed that I was more disturbed by the noise than the birds were.

8 thoughts on “Late Summer at San Pablo NWR”

  1. The shots of willets and other shorebirds you took are easily among the best you have done. Elegant, crisp and beautifully timed.

    1. They provide a symmetry that’s difficult to recreate any other way. They determine to a large extent how I crop a picture.

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